Faced with a growing death toll attributed to the rabies virus and the potential disruption to the island's tourist trade, Bali officials have announced a three-month island-wide campaign to inoculate all dogs against rabies.
To date, an estimated 74 people have died after manifesting rabies-suspected with 35 of those deaths positively linked to the virus through clinical tests.
As quoted by The Jakarta Post, I Putu Sumantra of the Bali Animal Husbandry Agency says: "Our target is very simple: By the end of the year all dogs on this island will be inoculated with the vaccine."
Bali plans to launch the vaccine drive in September.
The latest move follows massive inoculations and culling programs against Bali's dogs started in 2009. That program estimates some 300,000 dogs have been vaccinated and 100,000 dogs culled in government-coordinated efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Brain cell samples taken randomly from the dead animals showed more than 400 dogs were infected with the disease.
The latest vaccination drive will be carried out by 200 teams each comprised of six people, including three dog-catchers and one inoculator.
The cost of the new program has been put at Rp. 18.8 billion (US$2.065 million) to be funded by the central government and provincial government of Bali.
In preparation for the planned vaccination drive, Bali health officials are busily laying in stocks of the vaccine.
Because the rabies vaccine must be administered in a series of inoculations, a follow-up drive is scheduled for June 2011.
Local officials are optimistic that Bali will once again become rabies-free by 2012.
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